Harley is a nationally recognized litigator who has spearheaded his client’s defense in some of the country’s most complex product liability and commercial lawsuits. His career has covered an expanse of experience. He has served as national counsel in pharmaceutical and medical device multi-district litigations (MDL), where he has developed, shaped and executed winning strategies—from the initial investigation to victorious jury verdict. He has successfully represented clients in high-profile, multi-party commercial disputes, including litigation involving three of the largest superyachts ever built. In addition to experience across the United States, Harley has appeared before the Federal District Court in Dusseldorf, Germany, and has served as lead counsel in legal disputes pending in Germany, Italy, Japan, France, Hong Kong, Montenegro and Argentina.

Harley believes that representing defendants does not simply mean playing defense. Winning, instead, requires an unrelenting commitment to dictating the terms of engagement at all stages. He has been at the forefront in implementing cutting-edge, plaintiff-focused ESI discovery and employing comprehensive litigation data analysis to maximize results, a topic on which he has frequently presented. 

Before law school, Harley was a boots-on-the-ground reporter at award-winning newspapers; and he has leveraged those journalist skills—diligent investigation, clear writing and persuasive storytelling—in his practice. He is a compelling oral advocate, not an attorney reading from a script. He is a creative thinker who does not believe in operating from a playbook. Most of all, Harley believes there is no substitute for doing your own work, knowing the facts, and having the confidence to make tough decisions and give frank advice. 

Harley is an advocate for creative alternative-fee arrangements. He believes moving away from the billable hour better aligns the lawyer-client relationship, liberates outside counsel to focus on the best outcome, and provides greater flexibility to develop the talents of young attorneys. 

In addition to litigation, Harley is also a trusted and pragmatic counselor. He has regularly advised clients in dealings with domestic regulatory agencies, including the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) and Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). He has negotiated, implemented and effectuated successful nationwide product recalls for manufacturers across an array of businesses, from toys to firearms. Harley has counseled foreign clients on unique supply chain issues and devised strategies for reducing legal exposure while also safeguarding them in the event of civil litigation. And he has provided valued guidance for his clients on key business decisions, from contract negotiations to long-term product strategies. 

Over his career, Harley has held various leadership positions with the American Bar Association, as well as served on his firm’s hiring and associates committees. His accomplishments as an attorney have been consistently recognized by legal organizations, including Missouri Lawyers Media, Missouri & Kansas Super Lawyers, and Benchmark Litigation. 

Representative Matters

Kahn v. Sanofi Aventis U.S. LLC - U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana. Defense verdict in second bellwether trial of chemotherapy drug. (Taxotere MDL)

Publications 

Alison M. Newstead and Harley V. Ratliff, Global Overview, Getting The Deal Through: Product Recall 2018 (Law Business Research, Ltd. 2018-2019).

Alison M. Newstead and Harley V. Ratliff (Contributing Editors), Getting The Deal Through: Product Recall in 22 Jurisdictions Worldwide (Law Business Research Ltd. 2013-2016).

Alison M. Newstead and Harley V. Ratliff, Global Overview, Getting The Deal Through: Product Recall in 22 Jurisdictions Worldwide (2013-2016).

Harley V. Ratliff and Devin K. Ross, United States, Getting The Deal Through: Product Recall in 22 Jurisdictions Worldwide 2013-2016).

Harley V. Ratliff (Contributing Author), Rantings of a Partner... and Pushback from the Associate (Bart L. Greenwald ed., American Bar Association/First Chair Press 2011).

Gregory L. Fowler, Harley V. Ratliff and Devin K. Ross, United States, Getting The Deal Through: Product Recall in 26 Jurisdictions Worldwide (2011-2012). 

Harley V. Ratliff, "Becoming a Superstar Senior Associate," ABA Section of Litigation Annual Conference (New York, New York), April 21-23, 2010.

Gregory L. Fowler, Harley V. Ratliff and Jeffrey D. Mitchell, United States, Getting The Deal Through: Product Recall in 20 Jurisdictions Worldwide 2010. 

Harley V. Ratliff, So It Turns Out I’m a Senior Associate . . . , Mass Torts, Volume 7, No. 3 (ABA Section of Litigation), Summer 2009. 

Harley V. Ratliff and Laura C. Fey, A Brave New World: The Dawn of Hyper-Complex Litigation (updated), Bloomberg Corporate Law Journal, Winter 2009.  

Eric E. Hudson and Harley V. Ratliff, Blogging 101: An Interview with Mark Herrmann and James Beck of the "Drug and Device Blog," Mass Torts, Volume 6, No. 2 (ABA Section of Litigation), Winter 2008. 

Eric E. Hudson, Paul Rheingold and Harley V. Ratliff, Mass Torts Litigation: Looking Back but Heading Forward, ABA Section of Litigation Joint CLE Conference (Snowmass, Colorado), January 11-13, 2008. 

Harley V. Ratliff, Winning, Mass Torts, Volume 5, No. 3 (ABA Section of Litigation), Summer 2007. 

Harley V. Ratliff, Finding Your Voice, Mass Torts, Volume 5, No. 2 (ABA Section of Litigation), Spring 2007. 

Presentations

Presenter, Developing Techniques for Managing MDL Complexities: Obtaining Tools for Identifying, Controlling and Reducing Meritless Claims, ACI 24th Annual Conference on Drug & Med Device Litigation, December 10, 2019, New York, New York.

Co-Presenter, Busier Than a Centipede at a Toe-Counting Contest: Exponential Mass Tort Case Filing Volume as a Function of Bogus Trigger Dates, States' Statutes of Limitations, and Profit Potential, Update of the Law CLE, Kansas City, Missouri, June 13, 2019 (with Eric Anielak, Jordan Baehr and Adrienne Byard).

Presenter, Regulation of Drug Manufacturing, FDLI Introduction to Drug Law and Regulation: The Legal Framework for Drug Regulation, FDLI, August 27-28, 2015, Indianapolis, Indiana. 

Presenter, Products Liability Trends Outside the US and Canada, Association of Equipment Manufacturers' Gateway to Product Safety, April 23, 2015, St. Louis, Missouri.

Co-Presenter, Total Recalls: Counsel Perspective on Processes for Streamlining the Response to Product Issues and Effectively Working with the CPSC, ACI’s Consumer Products Regulation & Litigation Conference, June 26, 2013, Chicago, Illinois.

Presenter, FDLI/CDER In-House Training: Introduction to Drug Law and Regulation, Food and Drug Administration, May 10, 2011.

Moderator, Working with Experts 101 - The Do’s and Don’ts Every Young Lawyer Should Know, ABA Section of Litigation Joint CLE Conference, January 23, 2009, Vail, Colorado.

Co-Presenter, Mass Torts Litigation: Looking Back but Heading Forward, ABA Section of Litigation Joint CLE Conference, January 13, 2008, Snowmass, Colorado.

Co-Presenter, Update On Recent Mass Torts Cases ABA Section of Litigation Annual Meeting, April 14, 2007, San Antonio, Texas.

Media Coverage

Generics, Retailers Escape Zantac MDL With Preemption, Law360, July 9, 2021.

5th Circ. Won’t Revive Sanofi Chemo Hair Loss Suit, Law360, June 10, 2021.

Another Sanofi Taxotere Hair-Loss Case Dismissed as Too Late, Bloomberg Law, May 25, 2021.

Great Results, if Wobbly Reasoning, in Taxotere “Warnings Causation” Decisions, Drug & Device Law, May 14, 2021.

Fifth Circuit Affirms Two Defense Victories from the Taxotere MDL, Drug & Device Law, April 30, 2021.

5th Circ. Finds Chemo Drug Hair Loss Claims Filed Too Late, Law360, April 23, 2021.

5th Circ. Affirms Win for Sanofi in Chemo Hair Loss Suit, Law360, April 21, 2021.

Taxotere Plaintiffs Taken Down By Their Own Expert — AgainDrug & Device Law, July 3, 2020.

Sanofi May Assert Lack of Knowledge of Taxotere Hair Loss Risk, Bloomberg Law, July 2, 2020.

Sanofi Exits Some Taxotere Suits, More Dismissals ExpectedBloomberg Law, June 3, 2020. 

Sanofi Boots Some Plaintiffs From Chemo Hair Loss MDL, Law360, June 2, 2020.

Sanofi Beats Taxotere Claims Over Post-2015 Hair Loss Warnings, Bloomberg Law, May 28, 2020.

Clock Has Run Out For Hair-Loss Patients In Chemo MDL, Law360, January 24, 2020.